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Broccoli and Sweet Potato Puree

21 Sep

This is a super simple recipe for baby food. You can give this well pureed from 6 months as long as baby has already had broccoli or sweet potato before.

Now that Zozo’s bigger, I don’t puree it as much as I did before. And I add some meat or cheese just before serving it. I usually make a huge batch and freeze it for later use.

Some people have a BabyCook but we already had a steamer and a hand mixer, so why spend more $$ for something that’s gonna do the same thing anyway?

There’s really no real measurement for this recipe. If you want the more broccoli taste then add more, if you’re not a fan (or your baby’s not a fan) then add less.

Here’s what I used:

1

1 head of broccoli

2 sweet potatoes

a bit of water to thin down the mixture (the sweet potato’s a bit starchy) – use formula or breastmilk if you prefer.

 

 

Steps:

1. Cut everything up as evenly as possible. This way, the veggies are cooked at the same time.

2

2. Put in steaming basket and steam for 20 minutes or until everything is soft.

3

3. Put everything in a bowl, or your blender if you’re blending, and mix away until you reach your desired texture.

4

4. Add your preferred liquid to thin down the mixture.

 

Serve:

I usually thin it down a bit more using water/formula and add a bit of olive oil just before serving. If I’m adding meat, I cook the meat separately, puree, then add it to the mix.

This time I added parmesan cream cheese.

5

Store:

I bought a pack of 3 ice cube trays to store Zozo’s food in. Once they’re frozen I transfer them to freezer bags labeled with what’s in them and the date they’re made.

6

Easy peasy.  I only spent maybe 3 euros for this batch. And the best part is – Zozo gets to eat fresh food make with love.

Heartichokes

5 Feb

Ooohhh look at what I found in my draft folder from June:

I love love love artichokes. I only used to think that artichokes can only be bought in cans…you know, coming from the Philippines, we didn’t have fresh ones. I didn’t even know what a fresh artichoke looked like until coming to France. And that time I had no idea how a big scary thing like that can fit into tiny (and expensive) canned goodness called artichoke hearts in oil.

Then in 2004, when I went to my in-laws for the first time, they served me a huge artichoke head. Okaayyy…I didn’t know what to do with it. It looked like some alien head landed on my plate. Good thing the boyfriend (now husband) wasn’t in his prank-playing mood and gladly showed me how to eat it. Para hindi mapahiya in front of the in-laws.

It was amazing! I loved it the minute I put the meaty part of the thorny leaf in my mouth. The vinaigrette I think is the most important thing here. It adds that tang to the otherwise bland artichoke meat. I guess that’s why artichoke hearts are almost always sold in some sort of brine thing or olive oil with herbs.

Anyhoos. ‘Tis the season of the artichoke. On my way home from a loooonnnnggg day at the prefecture, I decided to treat myself with some. The problem is I didn’t really know how to prepare them. I know how to eat them, but cooking them is a whole new challenge. So I arrive home and ask the husband how it’s prepared – who in turn called up his momma to ask.

So how does one prepare and savor the deliciousness that is – Artichoke?

You’ll need:

  • a good knife – a serrated one if possible
  • a huge casserole. one that can accommodate your artichokes
  • a plate
  • lemon slices (optional)
  • water

1. Break off the stem of the artichoke – break, not cut. Breaking it allows you to get all that hard fiber from the bottom of the heart.

2. With a serrated knife, or a very good knife, cut off a bit of the top of the artichoke. With a pair of scissors, cut off the thorny part of each leaf.

3. My mom-in-law ties a slice of lemon at the bottom of the artichoke. I forgot why. It might have something to do with preventing the bottom from browning or something.

4. Arrange the artichokes in the casserole and fill with water. Add in a bit of salt.

5. Put a plate on top of the artichokes to keep them from floating.

6. Bring to a boil then keep it on a simmer until you can easily poke a knife into the heart of one of the artichokes.

7. You’re done!

 

Or…just watch this episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. His style is different from my MIL’s so you can choose whichever’s better for you.

—– okay, I’m having a problem embedding the video. But if you search for the episode in YouTube you’ll surely find it.

You have to try it if you find some. I’m sure you’ll love it.

 

So how do you eat it??????

 

You make a mustard – lemon vinaigrette. Add some shallots if you want. Then peel off each leaf and dip the hearty part of it in the vinaigrette then scrape/suck off the hearty part with your teeth. **I’m sure there’s a nicer way to describe that.

 

When you get to the violet-y part, you’ll need to grab that and pull off the rest of the leaves. You can still eat that like the leaves – but as a bunch. You’ll then have the “hairy” part – don’t eat those! Scrape that off.

You’ll now end up with the fond d’artichaut. I have no idea what that is in english. Just cut it up, dip and eat.

 

It was my first time making this and the artichokes I think were a tad under cooked. But the husband and I finished them off fine anyway.

I hope you definitely try it and that yours turns out just perfect.

First attempt in making pandesal

26 Sep

When I posted on Facebook that I felt like making pandesal over the weekend a friend of mine posted a comment saying that I was crazy. Maybe I was. I was so pumped up trying out my bread making skills – well, I just really wanted to use up the can of yeast I bought a couple of weeks ago.

Also, I wanted to try using my kitchen-aid like machine instead of my bread maker to make the dough – much like what I did when I made the pretzels.

And so with the ohsumness that is Google, I started searching for an easy pandesal recipe. There were recipes that called for baking soda, for eggs, for milk, for butter – soooo complicated. I didn’t think the classic pandesal actually had these ingredients. Sure, they maybe made home-made pandesal yummier but still – I didn’t think that the panaderia would use a lot of eggs and butter and baking powder for a pandesal that would sell for less than 1 peso.

Anyway I didn’t have eggs at home so some of those recipes were already out of the question. Then I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com.

I had everything needed on hand and no complicated ingredients to boot. Cool. I just had to try it. So at 9 am (not very panaderia-like) I went to work. It was very easy especially with the mixer although I had no clue what the finished dough should feel like. My dough ended up very smooth and quite elastic and soft so I thought that was quite good.

They turned out sooo pretty  and yummy(for first time home made pandesal). They were crusty on the outside and soft inside. I tweaked the recipe a bit because the reviews said the original recipe turned out bland and adviced to add more sugar. It turned out too sweet for my taste. So I guess I’ll follow the original recipe to the letter next time. The reviews also said the pandesals turned hard when cooled. It didn’t happen to mine – they remained soft even hours after.

I ate mine straight from the oven with butter and the husband had his with Nutella. This recipe is definitely going into my Recipe Journal and will be a weekend treat every now and then.

It does take hours to make this but most of that is just waiting for the yeast to rise but let me tell you that it really is worth the wait.

I think I’ll also try this recipe from Market Manila – it has eggs in it but maybe that does make a difference in the end.

 

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1  teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
What to do:
  1. Put the warm water in a small mixing bowl and add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar and the oil and mix until smooth. Add the salt, 1 cup of flour and the yeast mixture; stir well. Add the remaining cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, supple and elastic; about 10 minutes. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in it and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume; about 1 hour.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a cylinder and roll out until the ‘log’ is 1/2 inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut each ‘log’ into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the pieces, flat side down, onto two lightly greased baking sheets. Gently press each roll down to flatten.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  6. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Easy peasy.

Soft cinnamon sugar pretzels

18 Sep

For someone who has self-diagnosed ADHD I sure can’t stop obsessing about an idea that I’ve had in passing.

The other day I saw the unopened can of active dried yeast I bought during my breadmaker obsession days – which stopped as soon as I bought the can of yeast. Hello ADHD. Anyway, I made up my mind to do something with it this weekend. I first thought about doing some moroccan bread with a tajine or couscous dish. But I didn’t have enough spices for the tajine dish I wanted to make. So I searched again. Until I stumbled upon this site: Bretzels Moeulleux. It means soft pretzels in english and reminded me of Aunti Anne’s pretzels back home.

So at 9pm last night I went and fed my obsession.

Although I cut the original recipe in half, made it as cinnamon-sugar (so no salt on top of the pretzels), have a crappy oven, and they did not turn out as pretty as the original ones they did taste very good.

For a first time pretzel maker, I’d say I did pretty well. I probably need more practice in forming them though.

So here’s the recipe cut in half. I was able to make 4 pretzels with it:

What you need:

125 mL warm milk

1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar

140 g flour – you might need maybe 2 Tablespoons more

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the water bath:

750 mL water

1/3 cup  baking soda

For the topping

3 Tablespoons butter

cinnamon-sugar mix

What to do:

– In a mixing bowl, pour warm milk and yeast. Wait for maybe 2 minutes and add the sugar. Wait for another 8 minutes just until the yeast looks frothy.

– Add half of the flour, the melted butter, the rest of the flour and finally the salt.

– If you have a mixer with a dough hook, mix it just until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. At this stage you might need to add a bit of flour if you see that the dough is too sticky.

– Transfer the dough onto your work surface. Form into a ball. Lightly oil a big bowl, put dough ball in it, cover with a kitchen towel, put it in a warm place and let rise for about an hour.

– Preheat the oven to 210C. Punch the dough to let the air out and transfer to your floured work surface. Cut the dough into 4 and form them into pretzels.

– Heat the water and baking soda in a casserole. Make sure the water is not boiling. Poach the pretzels and put on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.

– Brush tops with melted butter and dunk in cinnamon-sugar mix.

– Enjoy.

I warned you mine didn’t turn out very pretty. Next time maybe I’ll need to roll them out thinner and form bigger pretzels coz they rise a LOT in the oven.

But I promise you they are really good.

Oatmeal Apricot Cookies

13 Jun

I wanted to do a bit of baking today but was too lazy to go and get some chocolate to make choco chip cookies. After a bit of rummaging, I found that I still had some dried apricots left over from making the Chicken with apricots and couscous recipe and some almond slivers from the biscotti recipe.

Just my luck! I have had this recipe for Oatmeal Apricot Cookies from Martha Stewart for a while now and I have just the ingredients needed.

It felt a bit weird eating a ‘healthy’ cookie. And as much as I hate fresh apricots, I liked the dried ones in this recipe. It added to the chewiness of the cookie. It wasn’t a big of a hit as the chocolate chunk ones I regularly make though.

So I had fun making these, but I don’t think I’ll make them again soon. But you should still try it.


Chicken with Fennel, Carrots, and Couscous

7 May

I like couscous but apart from the ready made ones we get at the supermarket, I have never really “cooked” a couscous dish before.  So I was very happy to find this easy peasy moroccan inspired dish in Whole Living.

There are a lot of ingredients but they all go into one casserole and all you have to do is wait after a while.

What you need:

  • 4 chicken breasts – I used chicken thighs, I like it better with the bones
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked couscous
What you’ll do:
  • Rub chicken with 1/2 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, I used the Le Creuset casserole,  heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon oil, fennel, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon paprika and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • To casserole, add reserved chicken along with any accumulated juices, apricots, olives, orange juice, and broth. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft and chicken is opaque throughout, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with couscous.
Sooper yummy! It’s better than the couscous I had at the place Jemaa El Fna in Marrakech. I think I’m gonna make this more often since it’s really simple but the finished product looks makes it look like you spent half the day slaving in the kitchen.
Sorry about the wonky pictures, it was a bit dark when I took them.

Cotes de porc au curry et au miel

29 Dec

I bought some pork chops (cotes de porc) the other day not knowing what kind of preparation to do with them. All I knew then was that I wanted some meat. I usually make Lemon-Thym Pork when I have chops but I felt like changing things up this time around.

I saw this recipe from Marmiton.org and at first I thought the mixture of curry and honey quite odd. But I had all the ingredients in my pantry so I decided to try it out.

top notch curry and honey

 

This is one of the easiest recipes ever. What you’ll need (for 2 people):

  • 2 Pork chops
  • 1 Tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1/4  lemon
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper

1. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, mix the oil, honey, curry powder and the lemon juice.

3. Melt the butter on a non-stick pan in medium heat. Sear the chops, 7 minutes on each side or until brown.

4. When the chops are half done, add the honey and curry mixture.

5. Turn the chops regularly in the sauce until they are cooked.

Make sure that the sauce does not dry out. Serve with steamed veggies.

 

The result was bluffant. The honey nicely caramelized the pork and the curry gave it some zing. I didn’t really get the hint of lemon, maybe I didn’t put in enough but it was good all the same. So good in fact that we finished half a baguette just dipping into the sauce.

The whole flat smells like curry right now but it was worth it. This is a good dish to serve when you don’t have much time nor money and you’re dead tired from working the whole day.

 

Tomorrow, it’s the last raclette party of the year!